Province gives go-ahead for some P.E.I. school sports this fall
Teams will compete against squads from no more than 2 other schools
Student athletes on Prince Edward Island will get to gear up starting Sept. 14 — but only for some sports.
The provincial government announced Wednesday that outdoor sports including field hockey, soccer, senior baseball and golf can start tryouts on that day, just a week into the school year.
Education Minister Brad Trivers says they have been working with groups including the chief public health office and the P.E.I. School Athletic Association to get a plan in place for school sports. He said he's pleased the plan came together before school started.
"It takes time to put these operational plans together, to consider all the angles and work with the [Chief Public Health Office] to get it done and that's what was going on," Trivers said in an interview with CBC News Wednesday.
"We want to make sure we got it right and take the time to really consider it and so they've got plans in place that the CPHO agrees with and we feel will be very safe for all the students involved."
No playoffs can start before Oct. 5
Teams will compete against squads from no more than two other schools for regular season and exhibition games, and there will be no more than four such games before playoffs.
No playoffs can start before Oct. 5, and no tournaments will be sanctioned by the Prince Edward Island School Athletic Association, either on or off the Island.
Buses won't be allowed to transport student athletes to other schools for competition, and students must travel with their sports gear on. Once they get to the host school, they won't have access to dressing rooms to suit up.
Other school sports will have to wait to get going, given restrictions due to the need to prevent the spread of COVID-19 should new cases crop up on the Island.
Cross-country events are still cancelled.
Indoor sports on hold
Indoor sports are also still on hold.
"They're still working out the operational plans for some of the indoor sports," said Trivers. "For example, cross country, the big event there, they get hundreds of students together typically up in Mill River and that's not the sort of thing that's palatable from a COVID perspective so they are still working out how we can still do a cross country competition."
The province says there are no details yet about whether and how spectators will be allowed at events.
News on school sports comes a day after Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said the province would loosen more coronavirus restrictions as of Oct. 1.
P.E.I. has had 44 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Nobody has had to be hospitalized, and all the patients have recovered.
Trivers said he hopes the return of school sports goes well and they can further ease restrictions. He said they have plans in place to do that and to also "dial it back" if the need arises.
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With files by Wayne Thibodeau